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  #1  
Old 10-14-2020, 01:01 PM
Tai Google Tai Google is offline
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Sauerkraut Patina

Here's some process pix of the sauerkraut patina I've been developing. I was thinking about different things in the kitchen that I could use for a patina on kitchen knives and/or blades in general, other than mustard and vinegar. I've been noticing how different vegetables, foods etc., stain carbon steel knives, if not cleaned off right away. There's all kinds of things, right?... this is just scratching the surface, lots of things to try.

This photo series shows one with two applications, each for a different amount of time. They have to be timed, to get both sides of the blade the same. I was surprised at the amount of detail, crisp definition of the lines and some of the colors.

Sauerkraut contains lactic acid as opposed to the acetic acid in vinegar and mustard. Oxalic acid is another one I want to try, found in oxalis and other edible plants.
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Last edited by Tai Google; 10-14-2020 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 10-14-2020, 10:18 PM
Dana Acker Dana Acker is offline
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Malic acid is one of the acids found in grapes, though tartaric acid is the most dominant one. After alcoholic fermentation has completed in wine, malic acid is still present, and a secondary fermentation is needed so that it doesn’t happen spontaneously in the bottle. A malolactic fermentation is initiated either during or just after alcoholic fermentation, by the addition of a bacteria that converts malic acid to...drum roll please...lactic acid.

You might consider using some cheap wine as a patina source since it contains both tartaric acid and lactic. Some winemakers add citric acid prior to bottling to “bump” the acid up just a bit, so potentially you might be getting 3 types of acid in wine.

Speaking of citric acid as a source of potential patina-ing, have you tried the different citrus fruits?

Lastly, Gene Chapman advised in one of his books, that one should take a new carbon steel knife and “...cut up a couple of potatoes,” to give the blade an aged look. Not up on my potato chemistry, but there must be something in them to cause a Gene to recommend them for contributing to blade aging. Anybody heard from Gene in a while?


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Old 10-15-2020, 07:10 AM
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Ever thought about soaking a luffa sponge in one of those acids, say pickle juice. Sling off the excess and insert blade. Should be able to get both sides at one time - just tossing out the idea, haven't tried it yet.


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Old 10-15-2020, 09:53 AM
Tai Google Tai Google is offline
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I haven't come up with anything I like yet with citrus fruit. I have some pure citric acid powder I might try sometime. I'm thinking, making a solution with water and then adding a medium like dry grains or tiny pasta to create a pattern or texture.

I like the luffa idea. On the higonokami (small blade), I just draped the sauerkraut over the back of the blade to get both sides at once. It was a different effect than one side at a time. Everything affects the patina,... time, temp., humidity etc., and of course how it's applied. I've also tried putting the kraut in a plastic bag and plastic wrap to do both sides at once, but not enough oxygen gets to it.

... wouldn't using wine for a patina be considered, "alcohol abuse"?


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Last edited by Tai Google; 10-15-2020 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 10-15-2020, 11:30 PM
Dana Acker Dana Acker is offline
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Using the citric acid powder, you should probably try to get to 6 grams per liter of fluid to roughly mimic the acid of grapes at harvest. Although the acid in the grapes is tartaric, which is also available in powdered form, we never added citric acid pre-fermentation, as it encourages the growth of acetic acid bacteria. But it might be interesting to take a sugar wash, sugar and water, add citric acid to 6 gra,s per liter, and inoculate it with yeast. It might create the acetic acid in a different, but more natural concentration than in regular wine.


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Old 10-16-2020, 12:57 PM
Tai Google Tai Google is offline
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Way to combine wine science with bladesmithing, bro! Sounds like you have it all figured out...

Can't wait for you to try it and show us what you come up with.


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Old 10-17-2020, 01:17 AM
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Some folks had me fix the handle on a long knife that they had. They said they only used it for watermelon. It had the deepest and richest patina I've ever seen.


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Old 10-17-2020, 10:28 PM
Dana Acker Dana Acker is offline
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In our winery, we had stainless steel tanks, the smallest was about 70 gallons, the largest was 4000 gallons, with a total gallonage of about 28,000 gallons of fermentation/storage space.

When we fermented red grapes in tank, as red wine gets its color from skin contact from the whole grape in the mix, we encountered stains.

When the fermentation completed, and we pressed the wine off the solids, returning it to tank, where we chilled it to 33 degrees to keep it preserved until it was transferred to barrel. When the tank was emptied, the cold from the chilling jackets had caused some of the tartaric acid to have both precipitated out of the wine and had adhered to the walls of the tank. So there was this red film that felt like shark skin or sand paper. The only way to remove it was either by blasting it with a pressure washer with the water temp up to almost boiling, or dangerous caustics.

Some times even after the granulated tartrates were removed, there still remained a red stain (not textured—shark skin removed) that only could be removed by over 170 proof ethanol. Remember these were high quality stainless steel tanks—non-magnetic due to the chromium content.

So what might occur to carbon steel if plunged into a sponge soaked with red wine? Cheaper red wines would probably be better because better wines have had the tartrates stabilized. A $5.00 bottle of wine might work better than a $20.00+++ bottle.

Just a thought....


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Last edited by Dana Acker; 10-17-2020 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 10-18-2020, 09:25 AM
Tai Google Tai Google is offline
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Bro, how about a prison wine recipe for patina?


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Old 10-21-2020, 09:48 PM
Dana Acker Dana Acker is offline
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Well, what about potatoes and amylase enzymes, found in human saliva and available commercially to distillers who have to convert the starch in grain to sugar for fermentation? That’s pretty jailhouse.


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Old 10-21-2020, 10:02 PM
Dana Acker Dana Acker is offline
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Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware made an interesting brew. The owner traveled to South America and drank a corn beer with natives. They made it by chewing dried corn, then spitting the mush into a fermentation pot. The enzymes in their spit converted the starch to sugar, and native yeast in the air, fermented it to alcohol.

The owner came back to his brewery and made all of his employees chew handfuls of dried corn and spit the mush in 5 gallon buckets around the brewery. When they had collected enough, they boiled it, and inoculated it with yeast, and made a commercial beer from it as a special edition.

You could try that. It’s jailhouse meets craft brewing, but it might work.


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Old 10-22-2020, 04:50 AM
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OK, that's disgusting, Dana.


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Old 10-22-2020, 11:20 AM
Tai Google Tai Google is offline
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I found this, NOT RECOMENDED FOR HUMAN CONSUPTION,.. but might be good for patina.



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Old 10-22-2020, 10:05 PM
Dana Acker Dana Acker is offline
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I agree Jack, I didn’t drink any of it. Shiner Bock’ll do just fine.


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